What is Hypnotherapy?

what is hypnotherapy
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What is Hypnotherapy? It is the controlled use, by an experienced and qualified practitioner, of hypnosis as a tool for helping people to achieve goals, break undesirable habits, resolve issues, rid phobias etc.

In order to understand the process you first of all have to understand a bit about hypnosis or Hypnotherapy.

All Hypnosis is self-hypnosis, in fact every human being goes into hypnosis on average a hundred and twenty times a day. With hypnotherapy a skilled person initiates and guides you into that state of self-hypnosis.

Every day when you go to bed at night you are alert when you get into bed, you then enter into hypnosis (state called Hypnagogia ) in order to get off to sleep.

When your body is waking from a sleep it enters into a different hypnotic state (Hypnopompia) as you migrate from sleep to the fully awake state.

When you are awoken abruptly, the mind does not have time to go through the Hypnopompic state and as a consequence there is sometimes a feeling of disorientation, bewilderment and tiredness.

When you have an alarm clock that wakes you on a regular basis your mind is programmed to this and the shock factor is lessened. When your alarm is set at different times your body clock and your mind find it more difficult to adjust.

An example of waking hypnosis is when you have been driving a distance and all of a sudden you have that thought; “I can’t remember getting here, what happened to the journey?”

The reality is that you were in a state of self-hypnosis and that, even better, this is actually the safest form of driving, because your subconscious is in control.

There are a number of common questions that people have about hypnosis.

Saying this to a hypnotist is rather like saying “I won’t wash my hair because what if it doesn’t dry?” In other words this scenario is just not possible. If after putting someone into hypnotic trance the hypnotist were to suddenly drop dead, one of two things will happen:

  • The subject would immediately awake alone or “shop awaken” as it’s called or
  • The subject would fall into a normal sleep and then wake up when they’re ready.
  • There is absolutely no chance of anyone being locked in Hypnosis forever (although it would be a very pleasant place to be!).

Yes, almost every human being can be hypnotised with the exception of young children under five (they just do not understand the words) and the severely mentally disturbed (they just do not understand the words!). People do go into different depths of Hypnosis however but hypnotherapy can be of benefit to everyone.

You will always be in full control of everything you say and do. There is no question of being in the power of the hypnotist and made to do things you don’t want to do.

You will neither be asleep or awake but somewhere in the middle. You will be in a state within which all your natural senses will be around 30% more efficient than usual.

Certainly not; a person in hypnosis or hypnotherapy is in total control of the situation at all times.

The human mind is rather like an iceberg, in that people only see the tip. The human mind consists of two parts, conscious and subconscious. Most people are aware of the 20% that is the conscious mind and then there is the other 80% underneath which has an amazing potential although it is often not used as well as perhaps it could be.

The conscious mind is the little voice inside your head, the one that right now is saying “Yes – that little voice”.

It’s the part you use to think with all day long.

It is very limited; it can only hold a limited number of thoughts or ideas at any one time. This is why, for example, most people can only memorise numbers in small chunks. 1943609315 isn’t easy to remember but broken down as: 194 (first chunk) 360 (second chunk) 9315 (third chunk) it is.

On average the conscious mind can retain only between five and nine units of information at any one time and the conscious mind is always analysing and it then acts according to its conclusions.

The subconscious mind contains all of your vision. The subconscious mind contains all of your wisdom, your memories and your intelligence. It is responsible for all those things that you don’t have to think about including; control of the body functions – Blood Pressure, heartbeat and breathing, body temperature, also things you been trained to do, muscle memory etc…

The function of the subconscious mind cannot analyse and criticise, it takes every piece of information literally, it cannot distinguish between pretend and real, it has no sense of humour, its language is the imagination and its primary function is that it is there to protect you. It will run all programs it considers protective, and it never forgets.

Because the subconscious mind takes everything that is said to it literally, if you told it black was white it would accept this – hence the stage hypnotist being able to persuade highly suggestible subjects that an onion was an apple!

A good example of the difference of and the transition from, the conscious to the subconscious mind is as follows:

When you are learning to do something, i.e. learning to drive a car, you use your conscious mind during the lessons. The initial reaction is almost always “I will never remember all of this”, but after much practice what happens is that the mechanics of driving are passed from the conscious to the subconscious and then all of a sudden things seem to come more easily. You seem to go onto autopilot because the information has passed into the subconscious mind and you no longer have to think about what you’re doing.

With the person in hypnosis, the hypnotherapist communicates directly with the subconscious part of their mind. This can be directly, as a monologue purely with positive suggestions, or as a dialogue where you look to find and then address the root of the issue, again with positive suggestions. Since the subconscious mind does not analyse nor criticise anything that is said to it, it will, to a certain extent, accept as literal almost anything that is said and allow positive change.

So for example, if you wanted to stop smoking, the hypnotherapist would guide you into a hypnotic state, and then talk directly with the subconscious part of your mind. They then suggest to your subconscious mind that you will never want to smoke again. Your subconscious mind will accept this and will carry out instructions. As a consequence of this, because you put the suggestions into the part of the mind that does everything automatically, you don’t even want to smoke. It won’t even come into your mind!

Where hypnotherapy fails in stopping smoking, inevitably it is down to the fact that the person does not subconsciously want to stop and the gates are up to the suggestion.

For hypnosis to help, both the conscious part and the subconscious part have to want the change.

What that means in terms of treatment is that you have to find a stronger motivation, the bottom line here though is that in a fight between the conscious and the subconscious, the subconscious always wins.

Not achieving change immediately can come down to if the subconscious has a secondary benefit attached to the habit that you are seeking to address;

For smoking in the young it is often associated with being cool, you might persuade with the health argument but peer pressure is the overriding motivation.

With weight, a man might subconsciously like the acknowledgement of their presence when they enter the room because without the bulk they feel down the pack pecking order.

We have slightly oversimplified explaining the process of hypnotherapy, there is a definite skill involved and, as with any type of therapy, you will find skilled and less skilled practitioners.

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